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Charlotte’s Wisdom at Christmas

As I’ve been studying Charlotte’s writings these past few months (especially her thoughts on habits — but more about that later), I was delighted to find some specific advice she gave about the Christmas holidays.

1. Select Christmas books for young children with care. Go ahead and give them “funny books, but do not give the children too much nonsense-reading” (Vol. 1, p. 152).

2. Try to make some little plans to keep the children occupied during the days after Christmas too, so they won’t get into mischief during their days off school work (Vol. 5, pp. 109, 110). “The days when the usual programme falls through are, we know, the days when the children are apt to be naughty” (Vol. 1, p. 132).

3. Take time to rest and prepare your body and mind amid the hustle and bustle. “There is a shade of anxiety in the mother’s face as she plans for the holidays. The brunt of domestic difficulties falls, necessarily, upon her.” So mothers should try to arrange for some quiet time of “rest for body and mind, and for such spiritual refreshment as may be, to prepare them for the exhausting (however delightful) strain of the holidays” (Vol. 5, pp. 109, 110).

4. During this season especially, show each child that you love him or her. “Let your children feel and see and be quite sure that you love them. We do not suggest endearments in public, which the young folk cannot always abide. But, dear mother, take your big schoolgirl in your arms just once in the holidays, and let her have a good talk, all to your two selves; it will be to her like a meal to a hungry man. For the youths and maidens — remember, they would sell their souls for love; they do it too, and that is the reason of many of the ruined lives we sigh over” (Vol. 5, p. 117).

5. Select a book to read together as a family during the holiday. “The evening readings should be entertaining, and not of a kind to demand severe mental effort; but the long holidays are too long for mere intellectual dawdling. Every Christmas and summer vacation should be marked by the family reading of some great work of literary renown” (Vol. 5, p. 227).

6. Be careful to continue watching over the habits your child is forming. “The habits practised in school and relaxed at home, because ‘it’s holidays now, you know,’ do not really become habits of the life” (Vol. 3, p. 107).

So does anybody have any little plans for after Christmas, ideas for taking time to rest and prepare Mom, or family-favorite holiday books you could share with us? Post your Comments below and we can all learn from each other.

All of us at Simply Charlotte Mason hope you have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

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4 Responses to “Charlotte’s Wisdom at Christmas”

  1. Sylvia December 22, 2006 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you so much for this post. It gave me some ideas to think about and some things to expand upon for my own children this year.
    We not only have a holiday break in which we slow down, we have a hard time staying motivated during the cold months after Christmas. So, we do more activities together, we work on puzzles, handcrafts, read aloud, make maps and create skits.
    These kinds of activities and more help us to pass the hours when we’re forced by the weather to stay indoors.

  2. Jennifer December 23, 2006 at 4:02 pm #

    One of our favorite chapter books to read at Christmas time is Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey. It is a delightful story about a twig doll with a hickory nut for a head. I first discovered it because it is recommended in Karen Andreola’s book, A Charlotte Mason Companion. Amazon.com also has several reviews of it, if interested.

    I would love any book suggestions others might have.

  3. Sonya December 23, 2006 at 4:55 pm #

    We just finished reading “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children, but probably ten or eleven and up would be appropriate.

    I also have scheduled to read “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry with my ten-year-old. My older children have already heard/read it several times, but I don’t think my ten-year-old has discovered it yet. I’m looking forward to sharing the story with her.

    Both are in a book I found called “The World’s Greatest Christmas Stories” edited by Eric Posselt. It’s an out-of-print collection of Christmas stories from around the world. Quite fascinating. I think I saw a few used copies on Amazon.

  4. Jennifer December 26, 2006 at 7:58 pm #

    Yeah — My dh grabbed an old book I had sitting out for a decoration around Christmas time.

    We got to listen to him read several stories… oldies but goodies! Not all serious… but some where. Ü We love it when daddy reads to us.

    I can’t wait to read your blog on habits. I’m reading that book right now of Miss Mason’s. Interesting. Convicting. Re-readable.

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